Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my blog readers out there.  Thanks for reading this year.

I hope each of you has a chance to celebrate Jesus' birth with friends and family, to give thanks for the challenges and blessings of 2011, to rest and refresh, and to look forward to another year serving Christ in 2012.

I'll be back in a few weeks.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Steps

Each year our church puts on an event called Christmas Steps.  It's designed for primary school kids and their families.  It is a massive undertaking with a team of ~100.  Church members bring the children in their extended families and many invite school friends to come along.  

The main part of the event is a tour.  Set in various locations around the church grounds, groups are given an insight into some part of the Christmas story.  Each section had a mini play and a song attached to it, with rewrites of songs spanning ABBA and The Pretenders.

Here are some of this year's tour highlights:
Our Roman centurion leading us to Bethlehem for the census

Mary arriving in Bethlehem





Joseph and his psychiatrist after he found out Mary was pregnant
 
The shepherds in the shearing shed

The angels singing "I love him" (think Sister Act) to the shepherds
The wise men (camping outside Jerusalem), singing up a storm
Mary and Joseph in the stable
A blog post like this really does not do justice to the inventiveness and skill of the people involved.  The tours were clever, accurate (to a point!) and entertained parents and children alike.

Of course, you want to be able to entertain people while they wait for their tour to start, so the rest of the site was set up a little like a funfair, with a Roman centurion theme.

There was:
Face painting
A petting zoo
Balloon animals
A nativity scene set up for kids to dress up in and have their photos taken. Proper copies of the photos were given out 20 mins later, with a bible verse printed on them.

Many craft activities: clay bowls, bracelets, decorations, angels - all decorated with bible verses about Jesus.

It is a wonderful event which is easy to invite other families to and it's all free!

Great work guys!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Some pre-schooler books

A number of recent trips to the library have turned up some treasures in the pre-school book department.  

Firstly, a new offering from the great team of Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz, Mad About Minibeasts.  We love their previous books, including Rumble in the Jungle and Commotion in the Ocean.

Mad About Minibeasts opens up the world of insects to young children in their usual rhyming, colourful way.


Another new one this year is Too Hot to Hug!   Rupert finds a golden egg, from which hatches a baby fire dragon.  At first, Crumpet is crumpety warm, he dries the washing and keeps the family snug.  But as he grows bigger and the weather gets warmer, Crumpet gets too hot to hug and starts causing problems.

A very cute story, with gorgeous expressive illustrations.
 
The Pencil is written by Allan Ahlberg (of Peepo fame). This very clever book starts with a solitary pencil, who begins to draw and create a boy, a dog, a cat, and then all the things they want and ask for.  Colour arrives when the pencil draws a paintbrush to help him.  Peace is threatened when everyone gets too demanding and he draws a rubber which only makes things worse. 

This is a funny, clever book and the kids loved the ideas behind it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

End of the school year

The end of the school year is upon us this week.  

As I await the approximately 300 school workbooks, projects, craft items, kindy/pre-school treasures, Christmas decorations and general paperwork that will descend upon us, I am tired yet grateful for another year.  

The children have been educated well, thankfully not primarily by me.

They have enjoyed school and have had wonderful teachers.

They have made friends and played sport and music.

Yet again I am thankful for our country which provides quality education for its children.

Now I just have to figure out where to put all the stuff that comes home.  And yes, most will go straight in the bin!